The President could be clueless the Church wants to help fulfill his constitutional duty to defend life
Fr. Emmanuel Mijares
The church gives due respect to the person and office of the president. In fact the church believes that all authority comes from above and its members have to pray for all authority, good or bad, even that one of Pontius Pilate.
This does not depend on the rise of fall of popularity rating. Some members of the church even support your government policy, especially on the menace of drugs and they identity it with the sincerity and good intentions of the president. This could explain why some priests or even bishops seem to approve this policy at first glance especially when one does not really examine if these priests and bishops agree with the policy of killing persons without the benefit of a due process which is usually called extrajudicial killing or extra legal killing to the point of even murder. Others opined however that Duterte’s desire to get rid of illegal drugs opened a Pandora’s box of bloodbaths and killings. Others would clarify when not in favor of Duterte’s way of dealing with suspected drug users and dealers, appreciates however the president’s work for the poor and his war against drugs. Obviously, after more than six thousand deaths and counting, citizens are beginning to decide more and more against extrajudicial killings.
Some do not, however. One friend explained this seeming tension of two voices within the church and analyzed this by comparing the two kind of prophets in the Old Testament: “The tension between being an Amos whose loyalty is to the Lord and his Word, on the one hand, and Amaziah, a guild prophet whose loyalty is to the king. . .” Yes, the intention to save the future generation explained through an astute rhetorics due to the “love” the president has towards all Filipinos seem to appeal to a frustrated citizen and the church wants him to succeed in this intention.
On the other hand the majority of Filipinos don’t like that our policemen, the drug lords and drug addicts be killed. One recent survey says: “Despite the strong support for the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, 71%, or a majority of respondents, said they find it “very important” that drug suspects be arrested alive by police personnel”. Moreover more that 60% of Filipinos did not vote for Duterte.
It is disturbing that the president encourages policemen to kill their prey through incentives and promises of presidential pardon. Of course, this latter promise does not hold water in as much as the presidential term of office is limited only to six years, (unless he declares Marial Law and remain in power) and murder cases could be filed even after that. Pardon is possible only to actual criminals, not potential ones. In fact, in the same survey, only 4 percent of Filipinos fully agree with EJK.
That is an eye opener for all. But the trolls are working hard, perhaps, they are paid hard. The majority of Filipinos, though silent, do not like the killing of their co-citizens causing a lot of orphans. Filipinos believe in the sanctity of human life. Human life is absolute and no government could claim true development if it does not respect the very life of the citizens whom it wants to serve. Our constitution guarantees this.
Hyperbole’s seem to be a literary style in the speeches of the president like to be the first to starve in case things get worst, to jet ski to Kalayaan, or the first president who will commit suicide. The church abhors suicide and would not wish that the president would do so if he failed the Filipino people or one’s presidency. Life is always infinitely valuable whether it belongs to the president, the drug addict or the drug pusher.
While there is still time, there is a chance that the president could show respect to life and try to refrain to see the addicts and drug pushers as animals, but human beings who has to right to life. It is inviolable and this right belongs even to any criminal. Nobody has the right to deprive others directly of one’s life not even the state through death penalty. To do violence to life is to wage a war which has no end and one enters a road which does not allow any exit.
The means of eliminating the drug lords and users by using the police force adds more to the death toll which literally pushes our nation to dig its own grave. Many voices have been spoken and continuous to echo: the government should shift more into eliminating the drugs itself and concentrate more towards healing and rehabilitation rather than killing. In fact eliminating the drug lords, drug pushers, (in doing so, some of our policemen have lost their lives) without eliminating the essential which is the drug itself, gives rise to other tentacles: more drug leaders, more corrupt policemen, more violence—adding more and more to the problem which the government want to solve. This menace is just a symptom of a deeper problem which is poverty. Although the solution is not that simple, one does not eliminate poverty by killing the poor people. It is now clear that addiction is more of a sickness, rather than a crime. Cure the cause of the sickness and the symptom will disappear. The church is the president’s allay in this. In fact there are many programs of the church implemented by the church for the poor and rehabilitation centers, even before Duterte was elected president. The church does these in order to defend and affirm the dignity of human person’s life as enshrined by our constitution.
There are international courts that try to defend these human rights. They even do their best to investigate (without restrictions) the thousand deaths through EJK. One foreign media has already dubbed the president as a serial killer. For sure, all should be considered innocent unless proven otherwise beyond reasonable doubt and this applies also to the president. We do not wish that we will have a president who will be accused and convicted by the international courts of justice with mass murders, much more to have a president who committed suicide. The church wishes to help in what is true, good, noble and beautiful in the governments policy. She wants to be an ally, but she will continue to defend the lives of her flock (including that of their leader) and proclaim the mercy of God to all even to the one who is in authority like that of our president. Perhaps he is clueless but the church would like to help him succeed so that every Filipino, and public servant, any drug addict or pusher could be aware of their own immense dignity as a child of God and therefore establish a reciprocal respect to this gift of God to every man and woman in this world: the fundamental gift of life.